It took me a while to catch up with a blog post about a wonderful surprise that happened to me during the week before Christmas.
As many readers of this blog know, I hold a special place in my heart for seniors who live in my community. I stop by their homes from time to time, visit, take some of them grocery shopping, or do home repairs. I never ask for payment, but sometimes boots are involved….
One of my senior pals, a feisty octogenarian (let’s call him Sam), used to live in Oklahoma and owned and operated a western wear store close to my mother’s family homestead. He sold his store in the late ’90s and moved to Maryland to live closer to his family. He called me soon after he moved, saying that a mutual friend from Oklahoma told him to “look me up.” Funny, turns out that he bought a house just a half mile away from where I live.
Over the years, I would visit on occasion to help him with “two-man jobs.” You know, those odd jobs that are easy enough to do, but you need two people to do it — to move heavy or bulky furniture, or fish a wire from one end while someone else reaches for it and pulls it from the other. Or, as my friend aged, more physical help was needed. Whatever, I always enjoy visiting Sam and listening to his stories and wise advice while doing odd jobs and home maintenance repairs.
Sam’s wife died six years ago. Since then, I visit him more often to dispel loneliness. His children and grandchildren visit, too, but not as often. They lead busy lives, and visit about once a month or so. And none of his children are handy with tools. Let’s say, they’re dangerous! One time his son blew the fuse for his whole house while changing a light bulb… but that’s another story.
Every time I did a home repair for Sam, he would offer to pay me. “Here, take a little something… ” offering me a $20 bill. I would politely but consistently refuse, saying, “look, it’s no sweat. I really enjoy helping out. My payment is the warm glow in my heart. It’s all I need or want.”
On December 21, Sam called me and said that his kitchen faucet had developed a leak. “Come quick… I can’t stop it.” I knew that Sam knew how to turn off the water at the valve, but I wasn’t going to question him. I said, “okay, I’ll be there soon.” I finished what I was doing and drove to his house.
When I walked through the front door, Sam was standing in his living room holding a pair of boots. He said, “look, I know you never ask for or accept payment, but please accept these boots as a gift from me. It’s the least I can do.” He tried to ease my guilt by telling me that he still knows people in the business, and got a great discount, so not to worry about the cost.
Man, these are great boots! Lucchese hand-tooled python cowboy boots! While these are in the “Lucchese 1883” line, these boots are exceptionally well-made. The boot shafts are thick and sturdy (unlike some other Lucchese 1883 boots that I have where the leather on the shafts is so soft, the boots flop over.) These boots are called either “Jungle Python” or “Lucchese Flap-Woman” boots. The latter name comes from the profile of a lithe woman being cut into the inlay on both the front and back of the boot shafts.
The boots have pegged leather soles, double-stitching, and even python inlays in the boot pulls. Really classy!
There was no leaky faucet at Sam’s house that day, but lots of “leaky eyes.”
Life is short: show those you love how you love them.